Symphony show captured all ages

It was hard to sit still during the Sunday Okanagan Symphony concert entitled Carnival — the program was electrifying. The attraction of a saxophone soloist and professional dancers had brought in a large audience — Penticton Cleland Theatre was full with whole families with their children.

An excellent concert opener was Hector Berlioz’ Roman Carnival. A sultry melody on the English horn lead into a lively dance. Then there were three dances from Cuban-Canadian composer Harry Freedman’s ballet Oiseaux Exotique. The Conga had drumming solos and glissandos in the brass instruments. The Merengue had a delicate flute and harp duet and castanets. A fast, rhythmical Samba ended the set.

Guest artist Jeremy Brown played saxophone in Darius Milhaud’s Scaramouche. The busy, bustling piece has virtuoso sax passages with jazz and blues elements.

There was a program change ­— instead of Lecuona’s Andalucia Suite, Tchaikovsky’s Capriccio Italiano was performed. A good choice, it brought the orchestra a standing ovation.

After the intermission the musicians appeared in colourful clothes to create a carnival atmosphere. Concertmaster Denis Letourneau was greeted with applause when he returned with his elegant vest and hat.

The Latin American Symphonette by Morton Gould included a Rhumba, Tango, Guaracha and Conga. There were various percussion instruments: claves, maraca and guiro. An interesting combination of oboe, harp and marimba caught my attention.

Finally, the Mission Dance Company’s dancers appeared in a medley of Latin dances by various composers. A Tango Habanera featured a ballerina on points, assisted by her gallant partner. A Rhumba Mexicana had a pas de deux with flamenco style movements. A Fandango accompanied four girls with graceful fans and fiery footwork. La Bamba was the final dance with the four ladies twirling frilly skirts and the male dancer in a Spanish costume. It truly was a fabulous concert.

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